Although good theoretical arguments why democracy should be good for peace exist, quantitative analyses of the effect of regime type on civil war recurrence come to contradictory and inconclusive results. The question then is: why do democracy and post-conflict peace sometimes go hand in hand but at other times fail to do so? I argue that this is because not all democracies exhibit the characteristics necessary to reduce the possibility of conflict. First, strong institutional constraints are necessary to reduce the risk of election winners abusing their power and second peaceful channels to redress grievances are needed in order to avoid new conflicts from turning violent. I test these propositions quantitatively using the new variants of democracy dataset (V-dem) for all countries that have experienced internal conflict between 1946 and 2010.